Tuesday, November 18, 2008

In a Down Economy, Dine!

Has anyone else noticed the disproportionate number of new restaurants that have opened/are opening lately? And I don't just mean in Detroit, but all over the metro area. It's too much for a foodie like me to keep up with! I may need to adopt a "one new restaurant a week" policy...if only I could find someone to pick up the tab (blogger for hire, will work for food).

So here's what's going on:

Ferndale's favorite brunch location Toast has opened an brand-new boutiquey location which also serves dinner and alcohol in Birmingham. Early reviews have been great, and a friend of mine who works there raves about it. What I had seen of the interiors in early September looked promising--very warm, inviting, and arty. The menu also sounds fab.

Hit-or-miss (mostly miss) Andiamo Restaurant Group is extending their quasi-cultural appeal into Mexican cuisine with Rojo Mexican Bistro in Novi. With an extensive (and likely expensive) tequilla menu, it sounds kind of Agave-ish, and all I can say is IT'S ABOUT GODDAMN TIME. And also, why Novi? WHY??????

In Detroit, we all know all about Mercury Coffee Bar. But do we also know about Angelina Italian Bistro? It's a trendy new place best described to me as an "Eye-talian restaurant for Detroit hipsters" (thanks to Supergay for that one, pun on the pronunciation intended). I have a review-ish pending on that one...perhaps One of My Gays will meet me for lunch there tomorrow so I can do it proper-like...hm...must send email...

Also, the Westin Book-Cadillac has brought us Michael Symon's ROAST, now open and already very popular. I, too, enjoy dead things on plates and find its early success no surprise. Soon there will also be Spa 19 24 Grille, which...*sigh.*

Now, what exactly is going on in Dearborn? Maestro's opened in Dearborn's West Village Commons earlier this year, featuring executive chef Liam Collins who has worked in Las Vegas, Mackinac Island and most recently opened the Hotel St. Regis, is owned by Najib Rizk whose record is...questionable. Accusations of illegal activities a la La Cigar (in east Dearborn) and La Shish have been fairly rampant, and the reviews from locals have been mixed (it claims to be Mediterannean/French but seems more Lebanese, based on what Dearborners have said). But it is pretty inside.

Also, Dearborners apparently like sushi, as the downtown west Dearborn business district is about to have more than its fair share of sushi joints. We already know about the ultra-popular and ultra-trendy Crave; now there is also Kabuki Sushi, which has lower prices and more of a "family" (i.e., non-clubber) appeal. This is the second location of owner Michelle Lee's popular Kabuki Sushi; the original is in Farmington Hills. Further west down Michigan Avenue (like, a block) will be the aptly-named Sushi: A Japanese Restaurant. This one is still very much in the early stages of development. So now in less than one mile of Michigan Avenue diners will have no fewer than three different sushi options. Just. In. Case.

Ever wondered what would become of all those empty La Shish locations? A place called Palm Palace will be taking over. It will be exactly the same. Executive chef Jamil Eid is the "foremost expert of Mediterranean cuisine in the Midwest," having traveled all over Africa, Australia, Lebanon, and the US over the past 50 years, developing his culinary style and skills. Mark my words, it will be exactly the same as La Shish. Which is fine, because I rather liked their food.

What else has been happening in Dearborn? The much-buzzed-about opening just yesterday of P.F. Chang's and Bravo Cucina Italiana in the new restaurant plaza in Fairlane Town Center. Neither of which have great food (only varying shades of edible to decent), but both of which now add to my list of "Places I can be one shot and half a vodka martini into my evening less than 10 minutes after leaving work." And for that, I'm thankful. Friday's still has the best happy hour prices, though.

That's all for now. I will continue in my efforts to bring you all dining-related news and gossip, as well as thoughfully snarky restaurant reviews. A blogger's work is never done...